If you’ve had cats for a long time, you’ve probably had trouble with at least one of them being finicky. They want their food, but when you put it in front of them, they sniff at it and walk away. They do this with different flavors and different brands, and in the worst cases, you have to give them something different every few days just to keep them eating. What do you do a finicky cat?
When the situation is not a finicky cat
It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between a finicky cat, and a cat that’s not eating for medical reasons. If your cat has stopped eating and you don’t know why, it’s important to get them to the vet to rule out medical problems. Cats’ livers can start to shut down after a mere 72 hours without food, so finding out what’s wrong is absolutely imperative. This includes finding out if she’s got dental problems that might be making it difficult for her to eat.
Getting your finicky cat to eat better
If, however, your vet has found nothing wrong with your cat, or you already know you have a finicky cat that’s otherwise healthy, then Petplace has a few things you can try that may help to reduce your cat’s finicky behavior:
- Make sure her bowl is shallow and wide. Some cats don’t like it when things touch their whiskers, and it might not be the food that she’s shying away from, but rather, it’s the bowl. Also, make sure the bowl is sturdy enough that her licking and nosing doesn’t move it around.
- Serve her fresh food away from noise. If you have multiple cats, or dogs or other pets loose in the house, this might mean feeding your finicky cat separately. Her feeding area should be calm and quiet, where she can eat in peace. This is something we have to do with our cats. Each cat gets fed in a bedroom, except for Chase, who gets fed in the rest of the house. It’s improved everybody’s eating habits.
- Make sure her food, if it’s canned or raw, is room temperature or slightly warmer. Cats don’t like cold food, and some of them can’t digest it when it’s too cold. Our cats actually throw up if their food is too cold. It should also not be left out for more than an hour, because it might start to spoil, which can make your cat sick.
- Finally, you might just have to give your finicky cat a variety of foods. You can test her to find out how long she’ll eat one kind of food for, and then how many foods she seems to want. You might also have to offer her special treats, like cooked meat or fish, to entice her to eat. Be careful with the fish, though; fish is not healthy for cats as regular meals.
What makes a finicky cat finicky?
Why are some cats finicky? According to Petplace, it’s an evolutionary trait that helps cats in the wild avoid starving, or having to migrate, if one source of food is no longer available. A finicky cat is more likely to survive in the wild if she can just eat something else when her chosen prey isn’t around.
You might have to get creative with your finicky cat, and above all, be patient with her. The last thing you want to do is show your frustration, because that could make her feel stressed, which will make her even less likely to want to eat. Be loving, kind and patient with her, and you’ll figure out something that works for both of you.